Key Gingrich staff member departs over Mormon comment
December 13th, 2011
07:18 PM ET
11 years ago

Key Gingrich staff member departs over Mormon comment

(CNN) - Craig Bergman, Iowa campaign director for GOP presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich, stepped down from his role Tuesday amid reports he made a controversial comment about Mormonism.

"He made a comment to a focus group prior to becoming an employee that is inconsistent with Newt 2012's pledge to run a positive and solutions orientated campaign," said R.C. Hammond, press secretary for Gingrich.

According to the Des Moines Register, Bergman called Mormonism a 'cult' on Wednesday when talking to a focus group. The newspaper attributed the remark to The Iowa Republican, a conservative news website.

"A lot of the evangelicals believe God would give us four more years of Obama just for the opportunity to expose the cult of Mormon," Bergman reportedly said. "There's a thousand pastors ready to do that."

The comments come two months after a Dallas pastor tied to Texas Gov. Rick Perry created a firestorm when he referred to the Mormon faith as a 'cult' and discouraged Christian voters from supporting Romney, a Mormon.

Also see:

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Giuliani: Gingrich may be stronger than Romney

Cheney: Don't underestimate Gingrich

Santorum counting on Iowa

Filed under: 2012 • Faith • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. northernCA

    I was taught in the Presbyterian church that they refer to Mormonism as a cult too.

    December 13, 2011 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  2. Bob

    uhm, but it IS a cult

    December 13, 2011 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  3. James

    He said this "... prior to becoming an employee..." and they're just firing him now? .... nothing but a publicity stunt to gain some sort of sympathy vote.

    December 13, 2011 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  4. m

    It is a cult. So the guy spoke the truth. Don't worry he'll end up with a cushy job somewhere with the GOP + GREEDY OPPOSITION PARTY's think tank operations.

    December 13, 2011 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  5. LaVey

    I'd rather have a Mormon as president than a moron as president. Way more into Romney than Gingrich.

    December 13, 2011 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  6. Laterday Member

    The trueth is what they are tryinng to hide, how do you hide the trueth. Marmonism is indeed a Cult. Yes, it is secret cult. why those crazy books added to the Holt bilble, why Joseph Smith? Marmons are cultists period

    December 13, 2011 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  7. DC Observer

    Republicans can nominate Gingrich and lose to Obama, or they can nominate Romney and win back the White House.

    Newt has way too much baggage and can never attract the needed votes from moderates and independents.

    December 13, 2011 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  8. OhLa La

    "lots of ..evangelicals believe God would give us four more years of Obama just for the opportunity to expose the cult of Mormon"?
    Can you spelled screwey thinking? Self destruction, self mutilation?
    What on earth is he, or are "the evangelicals" thinking? God would rather keep a Kenyan, non christian, muslim, non American president in the WH than let a mormon in?
    god must really hate evangelicals (I can't blame him) that he would subject them to 4 more years of president Obama. Imagine the pain, the anguish, the self loathing (or maybe he just likes the US and thinks that Obama is a good president. Wouldn't that be nice?)
    The next question of course is: would god like a catholic (with an officially annulled marriage ) in the WH? We all know that god has a dicey relationship with the catholic church: catholics being the first church and having strayed soooo much from its roots and his word. Only time will tell.

    December 13, 2011 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  9. Beatrix Kiddo

    "Newt 2012's pledge to run a positive and solutions orientated campaign"

    Newt sure loves to make pledges, doesn't he? It's a shame that the only pledge he won't honor is the vow of marriage.

    December 13, 2011 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  10. Rick

    Mormons are a cult.. So yeah, Jesus came to America and gave some drunken criminal some golden tablets that now are nowhere to be found. Christianity is a cult. There is no evidence that Jesus ever existed. None whatsoever. Islam is a cult, for mostly the same reasons and Christianity. Jews are in a cult as well. The old testament is really a bunch of rewritten ancient works about extra terrestrials enslaving humanity. (see the striking similarities between Sumerian religious texts and the holy bible, an example would be the great deluge vs Noah's ark)

    December 13, 2011 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  11. David

    Good grief get Harrry Reid out the cultists, General Scowcroft out the cultist, Huntsman the cultist, Steve Yung the cultist, Gladys Knight the cultist, David M Kennedy the cultist, Rex Lee the cultist are you evangelicals ever going to judge members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) for their works. I think Evangelicals have much the same blind understanding used by terrorist Imams on the Muslims to hate Christianity and they just can't see it.

    December 13, 2011 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  12. Robert G.

    Now if only Newt will do likewise. He makes stupid "remarks" all the time. Anyone of them will do I'm not particular. If only I could get him say something like "Cats taste great I've had them many times when visiting China." That'd finish him.

    December 13, 2011 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  13. Amazing

    Is Newt going to resign for some of his inappropriate comments about the President that have nothing to do with policy disagreements?

    December 13, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  14. john

    I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ for 12 years. If we are cult members, then so is everyone that believes that Jesus is our savior and God is our Heavenly Father.

    December 13, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  15. lotus_65

    I'll bet Shelly would love to have Bergman on her team...

    December 13, 2011 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  16. FIELD1stSGT

    You sure3 wouldn't get Axelrod the money can be bought campaignor for Obama to step down no matter what he has slanders and slander he has made. Obama and his band opf gangster will stick until convicted which will be soon.

    December 13, 2011 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  17. mickey1313

    Um, I dislike gingrich alot, but the mans right, it is a cult. Call it what you like, when you know who wrote it, know he was bat**it crazy. Know the publisict was bat**it nuts as well, then you have cult, just like scientology, no diferance at all.

    December 13, 2011 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  18. joey

    big deal, all the children of abraham are in cults

    December 13, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  19. Dawn Kucera

    Gingrich is going to self-destruct - it's only a matter of time. No matter how self-disciplined he tries to be, his natural penchant for the ugly attacking comments will surface eventually. In the current phase, it started with this comment.

    December 13, 2011 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  20. Chuy

    Though I may not agree with everything Gingrich promotes, I respect him for promoting a staff who does not discriminate by word or deed any other group. He is taking a clear stance on that issue, and when Rick Perry had the opportunity to do the same he took the easy way out.

    December 13, 2011 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  21. Oldie in TampaBay

    what a joke

    December 13, 2011 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  22. John Shearer this guy comes along and decides to upend centuries of established religious tradition by saying he has a direct connection to God, and the religious establishment is upset and labels this divergent faith a 'cult'. That's Mormo...... no, wait, that's Christianity. Hey, I'm a Christian, but the origins of Christianity could be described as a 'Cult' just as easily as the origins of Mormonism could be. I'm also gay, and am no friend of Mormons and their horrendous treatment & victimization of my tribe.

    December 13, 2011 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  23. noly972

    "...Positive and solutions oriented campaign."

    So far, the Newt seems to be standing by his pledge. I hope he can continue. If he can do so, it will be one of the first 'clean' campaigns I've seen in my 63 years.

    December 13, 2011 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  24. Guest123

    Aren't all religions cults?

    December 13, 2011 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  25. Regis990

    Keep ALL religion out of politics!

    December 13, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
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